A Shameless Plug for Jorge Luis Borges
or "Why you owe it to yourself to read some Borges"
If you haven't read any Borges, you are missing out on one of the great treats
of Twentieth Century literature
. Everyone should give him a try before they die. I recommend Ficciones
for starters. If you read Spanish
, then do yourself a favor and try to dig up a copy in its original language, as I'm told that the translations
, while themselves quite good, don't do the original justice. (I have no direct experience in this respect, since I don't read Spanish, but having compared differences in English
translations of a couple of stories, I can readily believe it).
Most of the stories in Ficciones are what I would call "concept sketches". That is, rather than telling a story, or painting a portrait of a character, they sketch out the broad outlines of some unusual concept. Typically Borges gives only broad outlines of his concepts, and the gaps serve as an invitation for the reader to ponder the ideas on his own. Borges uses a variety of interesting devices for his sketches. Other writeups have mentioned the reviews (complete with footnotes, no less), or more generally, discussions, of fictive books. Several take the form of memoirs, a few are almost entirely imagery, and there is even the odd conventional narrative.
To summarize, simply delightful. Just one caveat: the first one's free.